So much for the off season.
Barely a week after an arduous, drawn-out season came to an emphatic end with VCU’s sweep of St. Louis in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament, VCU head
coach Shaka Smart has dismissed a player from the squad while simultaneously being tossed in the middle of a coaching search media-storm.
Smart released two statements through VCU’s Sports Information Office Wednesday, the first stating he had received no offers from Clemson and looked forward to
next season at VCU, and the other announcing that junior forward Terrance Saintil will not rejoin the team next season.
Rumors began swirling yesterday after Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell, who led the Tigers to four consecutive 20-win seasons, left the school Wednesday to become
head coach at Depaul. Smart, who marked his one year anniversary as head coach of VCU by winning the CBI Championship March 31, served as an assistant to Purnell
during his three year tenure with the Tigers.
“I have not been contacted by Clemson University about their head coaching position,” Smart said. “My wife and I love VCU, and our coaching staff is committed to
helping our players improve both on and off the court and to reach our goals at VCU.”
Possible candidates for the job aside from Smart include University of Alabama-Birmingham coach Mike Davis, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, Western Kentucky
coach Ken McDonald and Tiger associate head coach Ron Bradley.
Bradley was named as the interim coach by Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips Tuesday.
If Smart left, he would become the first coach in VCU history to leave after one season. Recent coaches Jeff Capel and Anthony Grant stayed at the school for four and
three years respectively before moving on to BCS schools.
Smart’s other statement of the day regarding Saintil’s dismissal marked the second time in Smart’s tenure he has dismissed a player from the team, with the other coming
midway through the season when guard Jay Gavin was let go.
Saintil, a 6′ 8″ junior out of North Miami, Fla., averaged 2.5 points per game and 7.9 minutes per game this season—both of which are lowest on a 14-man
“We’re appreciative of the contributions that Terrance has made to the VCU program over the past two years,” Smart said, “but at this time, we feel it is best for
Terrance to continue his career elsewhere. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Last season, Saintil averaged more minutes (7.7) but fewer points (1.7). He’s believed to be leaving the school, possibly to transfer and play at another school, after he
posted on his Twitter account Wednesday that he would miss VCU and his “brothers.”
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